No Limits

it is amazing how much we try to limit our limitless God.  We want to define Him, possess Him, contain Him, conform Him to our thoughts and ideas and notions and isms.

The thing is, the Lord is simply too great to measure.  We cannot fully grasp Him and His ways for He is God, the GREAT I AM.  

And we are not.

This is why we have to trust Him, because we cannot fathom Him.  He works beyond the fragile limitations of our imaginations and feeble intellect and logic.

He loves us.  This unbelievable Heavenly Father is to be utterly believed.  He is pure and holy – indeed, He defines purity and holiness – so we can trust Him (as we are commanded to).  He is just so we know He has right on His side (after all, He defines truth and right).  He is infinitely capable and willing, through His unimaginably immense love, strength, grace and mercy, to see us through any / every situation in life.  

He is love.  And, as the ultimate sacrifice for we, His children, our Heavenly Father sent his Son as an utterly perfect sacrifice, bearing our sin and shame and opening a way to be able to approach our Lord and Savior.

He makes a way for us where none seems possible.

He sets on the right path and never abandons us.

He lives within us.

He is our strength, our guide and counselor.  

He is our ever present help in times of trouble.

Why would we want to contain Someone so great?  We cannot box Him in anyway.

Tonight, whatever you’re facing in life, be thankful, for God has blessed you richly.  Be joyous, the Alford is at hand.  

Love God.  Love others.

Reach out in love.

And accept the love you are given.


Draw Near.  Now.

 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8 (ESV)

Some days are tough.  It’s hard to get passed the events of the day, and the temptation to latch on to just a little anger, or just a little worry, or just a little doubt, is great.

Instead of following negative emotions, draw near to God.  Pray to Him.  Cry out to Him.  Seek Him.  If you set the junk aside, cast your anxieties and concerns and cares on Him, and humbly, worshipfully, prayerfully draw near to the Lord, He promises He will draw near to you.

It is amazing the peace that comes when we give up the pain and sorrow and replace it with faith and joy, trusting God despite the circumstances.  And, yes, no matter what’s going on, regardless of what has happened, or what you may have done or said, or how deep down in a hole you find yourself, God will be there for you. 

And with you.

You need only be humble and honest, and draw near to God.  Don’t rest on your emotions.  Don’t give in to your fears.  Don’t let the enemy have one ounce of pull over you.  Rest in faith in Jesus.  Know He will never abandon you.  Know the Lord has a purpose for the things you face.

Quiet your soul and seek the Lord.  Draw near to Him.


Let His peace flow over you.


Let go of the anxious thoughts, the unforgiveness, the pity, the low emotions, and let God fill you with His love and mercy and grace and joy.


Know how deeply you are loved.  Know that you are filled with great worth because you are who God created you to be, and you are His child.


An Invitation Nobody Should Refuse


Photo from Compassion UK’s blog site

16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’ ” – Luke 14:16-24 (ESV)

There is an old saying the goes like this: “You never know what you have until you lose it.”  And the easiest way to lose a gift is to refuse it.

A gift, by definition, is something of value or benefit that is freely given to another without obligation.  No strings attached.  Granted, in our society, there is no free lunch.  When the hucksters on late night TV promise a free gift with your order if you call now, wisdom often pipes up and says, “No, no, no…  The offer is too good to be true.”

Likewise, if a man gives his grandson five dollars to buy some ice cream, that is a gift, given out of love.  No obligations.  No strings attached.  (Except perhaps the hope that you might call or visit more often.)

The host in this parable of Jesus has obviously gone to great lengths to throw a sumptuous feast for his friends.  The celebration has been planned – and the guests invited – well in advance.  This was no surprise party.

And there were no strings attached.  Nobody was getting recruited to sell products and lure friends into a Ponzi scheme or multilevel marketing pyramid.  The host of this banquet simply wanted to be a blessing.

One can assume that the many he invited were not strangers to him.  They may have been friends, family, people he liked and wanted to get to know…

But they all had an excuse to look a gift horse in the mouth.  All were too busy, too self consumed, to be inconvenienced by this man’s loving invitation.

The allegory contained within this parable is simple.  The host, the Lord of the house, is God.  God had invited the Israelites – His chosen people – to a feast, a banquet, a relationship with Him.

And, while they initially accepted the invitation, when Jesus (the Promised and Much-Sought Messiah) came to let them know the feast was ready, they couldn’t be bothered.  They were too into their own Pharisee thing.  They rejected the gift.

And they paid for it dearly.

And now, the gift is offered to us.  We are the blessed recipients of the great feast of the Lord through Jesus Christ.  Often we are invited through pain or fear or sorrow or guilt or shame.  We finally open the invite when we hit bottom.  When the pain becomes unbearable, the anxiety too stressful, the guilt too pressuring, the battle too big… When we have nowhere else to turn, we accept His gift.

We have set before each and every one of us the invitation to come to the Lord’s banquet.  Here we can feast on all the good gifts of God: forgiveness, eternal salvation, our path set straight, amazing grace, truth, righteousness, hope, rest, peace, strength, wisdom, direction, love…

We begin to seek the Lord and, as we do – if we truly look to establish a relationship with our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son – we find ourselves relying less on His gifts and more on Him.  We begin to love God (and others) not for what He can do for us, but for Who He is.  After all, that is how He loves us.  Unconditionally.  No strings attached. Just pure, genuine love.

Today is your chance.  Today you can cast off the ugliness in your life: the anger, the doubt, the fear, the need for control, the dashed hopes and shattered dreams, the broken relationships… Today – right now – you can be rid of the burdensome yoke around your neck.

(Jesus said), “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

When the servant comes to call of you because the grand feast is ready, and a place for you is set, do not reject the invite.  This is your chance.  This is opportunity knocking.  And if you refuse, you may never know what you just said “no” to.

A Lesson from the Desert

  Late in the 4th century, two brothers arrived in the desert in Egypt to live among the Nitrian monks.  The sons of a recently deceased Spanish merchant, Paesius and Isaias had inherited a considerable sum of money and wanted to use their windfall to serve Christ.

However, the two brothers each took very different routes in their service.  One took his inheritance and shared it with other monasteries and people and institutions in need.  The other built his own monastery and, instead of spreading his wealth, opened his doors to any who needed help.

After both bothers had passed away, there was some debate among the monks as to who was right in the way they used what God had given them.  There was considerable dissension between those who preferred the method of Paesius and those who favored Isaias’ approach.  The two parties approached Pambo, the founder of the Nitrian monastic order, to settle the debate once and for all.

His answer: “Both were perfect.  One showed the work of Abraham; the other, that of Elijah.”  

It is easy to get caught up in the religion minutae of what it means to follow Christ and exactly how we should go about serving.  The apostle Paul points out the answer quite plainly:

 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV)

What we do is not nearly as important as why.  Paesius and Isaias both had in their hearts the God given desire to serve others in Christ’s love.  And God gave each the desires of their hearts.  The point isn’t the methodology.  It is their faithfulness.  Each of the brothers used their God given skills, gifts and direction to serve in Jesus’ name.  And, in the end, The Lord honored both – equally.

What has God called you to do?  Are you doing it?  If yes, keep on keepin’ on to the glory of God!  If not, what’s stopping you?  Are you afraid of what others might think or say?  Is God asking something radical of you that you don’t feel you can do?  

If we want to be happy in life, we must be faithful.  We have to listen to the still small voice of the Spirit when he says, “Go here”, or “Feed my sheep”, or “Give it away.”  Nothing we do should be defined or contained by what we believe we are capable of.  For without the Lord, our capabilities are of naught.





But, with Christ, serving Him, seeking Him, loving others in His name, we cannot fail.  Even the things we may believe to be failures are useful in the hands of God, Who works all things together for the good of those who love Him.

Don’t worry about what to do.  Don’t concern yourself with what others think.  Critics are nothing more than people who failed and lacked the courage to get back up and try again.

Listen to the Lord.  Seek His guidance, His wisdom, His mercy and grace, His direction… His kingdom first and foremost.  Go where He says to go.  Do what she says to do.  Fix your eyes on the prize of Christ and run the race set before you – fearlessly, faithfully, joyfully, knowing you have the backing of our Lord God, the Creator and Sustainer of all!


The Reminder…


Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. – Psalm 55:22 (ESV)

The other night I experienced the first panic attack I have had in a very long time.  I let life roll ahead of me.  I allowed stress to get a toe-hold.  All my striving and working hard to try to be perfect failed me.


I was so focused on a mistake I had made that I lost sleep.  I got worried.

I got anxious.

I am not perfect.  I truly do not believe I possess the capability to be perfect.  So, why do my imperfections bug me?  Because I never want to disappoint.

I never want to let anyone down. 

And that, I confess, is ego.  Nothing less.  It is an indicator that I am not spending enough time with God.  He knows how busy my life is.  He knows I have a lot going on.

But, the simple truth, my time with God is not for His benefit.

My faith is not something He needs.

Jesus lived and died and rose again for me.

The Father forgives me of all my sin because He loves me.

God does not need me, but I simply cannot live without Him.

I am not perfect, but God is.

And He reminded me of that fact, at 1:30 the other morning.  He stepped into my trouble, threw light on my darkness, showed me He is always with me.

There is nothing beyond God.  We don’t have to be perfect.  We don’t have to worry about the results.  We don’t have to try to wrest control over every aspect of our lives.

God is God.  I am not.  But He loves me.  I am His child, and He cares for me with a depth of live I cannot fathom.

That’s for you, too.

I am grateful for my little panic attack the other night.  It reset my heart and put me back on track.  God used it to remind me that He comes first.  He is God.

Rest in Him.  Trust in Him.



I didn’t see it coming.

Its like a sucker punch from within.  I haven’t felt this in quite some time.

And, I have to tell you, I’m not exactly enjoying it.

Panic attacks are no fun.  Especially in the middle of the night.  They are exhausting.  They are irrational.

The anxious brain is like a roulette wheel, spinning faster and faster. The ball riding atop it is an anxious thought – ponderings of a problem or fear or mistake made, real or imagined.  Suddenly the roulette wheel stops.  The ball lodges in a hole. And, immediately, the wheel is given another spin.



Then comes another ball.

And another. 

And more spins.


Until the wheel begins to spin off its axis.

Prayerfully the Lord reminds me that He is with me.  Always.

He reminds me to cast all my cares on Him.  Which isn’t easy when you’re dizzy from all that spinning.  But God gives us the strength, the balance, to thrust those worries on Him.

Slowly calm begins to prevail.  In faith, I know my troubles are in the hands of God Who can fix anything.  Who controls everything.  Who is bigger, stronger, greater than anything I face.

And his peace floods my soul. 

The wheel slows down.  The muscles still ache, but the fear is receding.

Breathe deep.

Pray strong.

Remember that our Father loves you.

Remember all He has done for you.

Rest in His love.

Lean not on your own understanding, but on God, in faith, knowing there is no contingency He cannot handle.

Relax.  You are not alone.  You are loved.  Embrace the Lord and wait upon Him.

2:30 am now.  Need to get to sleep.

How sweet God’s promises.  My peace in the storm.  My steady anchor.  My strong, loving Father.


What Are You Staring At?

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. – Colossians 3:2 (ESV)

One of my favorite Facebook memes of all time is this “quote”:

“The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine.” – Abraham Lincoln

I laugh every time I see that.  But, as funny as it is, the world is filled with misinformation and skewed opinions.  The trivial has become the utmost important.  Morals are twisted to the point of being unrecognizable.  Accountability is merely a matter of blaming someone else and holding them accountable for the ills in our lives.

This world is a mess.

But I didn’t need to tell you that.  You live here, too.

It isn’t easy being a Christian these days.  And I don’t know that it is going to get any easier – at least not anytime soon.  Here in America we face minor discomfort, but in many countries Christians are truly persecuted, killed for their beliefs.

Very few of us in America know what persecution feels like. We can go to church freely, drive around with fish symbols on our cars, talk and write openly about the love of Christ and the wonder of having a relationship with Him.

Still many western Christians seem to be afraid.  Afraid of what laws the government might pass.  Afraid of being overrun by society’s acceptance of social mores we do not embrace.  Afraid of the far off-kilter portrayal Christians receive in the media.

Consider this: do you really believe the media are going to be objective toward Christians?  Allegations of hatred and “narrow-mindedness” – an astoundingly hypocritical charge to level against Christians if you think about who is truly being intolerant in this scenario – sell far more advertising in our dumbed-down, reality TV minded society than goodness and peace.  Sex and violence sells.  Christianity simply doesn’t deliver the salacious sizzle.

And that, dear friends, is a good thing.

Here in America, many of us suffer from media paralysis.   We search the Internet for information.  We watch the news to find out what’s going on.  We are overly consumed by the evil the swirls all around us.

And we wonder why we have such difficulty experiencing the peace of Christ.

We forget the words of God revealed to – and recorded by – men far wiser than I:

Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out. – Proverbs 24:19-20 (ESV)

This is a point King David – a man who knew a thing or two about being pursued by evildoers – expounds upon:

1 Fret not yourself because of evildoers;
be not envious of wrongdoers!
2 For they will soon fade like the grass
and wither like the green herb.

3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your justice as the noonday.

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him;
fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way,
over the man who carries out evil devices!

8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath!
Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.
9 For the evildoers shall be cut off,
but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.

10 In just a little while, the wicked will be no more;
though you look carefully at his place, he will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land
and delight themselves in abundant peace.

12 The wicked plots against the righteous
and gnashes his teeth at him,
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he sees that his day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose way is upright;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
and their bows shall be broken.

16 Better is the little that the righteous has
than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
and their heritage will remain forever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times;
in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish;
the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

– Psalm 37:1-20 (ESV)

In other words, don’t focus on the works of those who stand up against the Lord.  Do not fear their victory or worry about the outcome of their deeds.  Quit staring into the maelstrom of this world’s sinful ills.

Instead, focus on Christ.  Keep both hands on the wheel without distraction.  Do what God says to do.  Love one another.  Love your enemies.  Be generous.  Be kind.  Be humble.  Be peaceful and peaceable.  Be strong in your faith in Jesus.  Fix your gaze on Truth and Love and Hope, knowing God has a plan that is beyond our comprehension.

Don’t worry, friend.  Rest in Christ.  Walk faithfully in His Love.  Look upward.

And turn that TV off.